By Kristy Scrymgeour
A month has passed since Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) won round number seven of the Women's UCI World Cup Series in Montreal, Canada moving herself up to second place in the series, just behind Nicole Cooke (Univega) and in front of two-time World Cup Series winner Oenone Wood (Equipe Nürnberger). Starting again for the first of the final five races, 20 teams have traveled north to Sweden and Denmark to baptize two brand new events on the World Cup schedule.
The first of the two takes place on Friday in the town of Vårgårda, not far from Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg. Here the riders will do 11 laps of an 11.6 km circuit for a total of 127.6 km. The course is very technical especially when the loop travels through town near the start finish line. There is also small climb mid lap which will be tough towards the end of the race.
The second race of the weekend is round 9 of the World Cup Series and is the first ever Team Time Trial event in the history of the series. The course starts and finishes in the town of Århus, traveling 20km over rolling terrain to Hvilsted before looping around and heading back to the finish line. This year the World Cup Series also has a teams classification. Univega will be hoping for a strong performance in this race to defend their current lead over T-Mobile.
In addition to the team standings, the current series leader from Univega, Nicole Cooke will be looking to defend her lead. She currently leads Arndt by 49 points and third placed Wood by 129 points making Arndt the only rider who can surpass her lead on Friday. Cooke comes directly from an impressive win at the women’s Thüringen-Rundfahrt and will be hard to beat on Friday.
Her Univega team also has a strong time trial line up including two time and current World TT Champion Karin Thürig, winner of the time trial at Tour de l’Aude this year Priska Doppmann and winner of the prologue at Thüringen, Christiane Soeder. They will have to beat Buitenpoort Flexpoint however, who won the Team Time Trial at Tour de l’Aude and T-Mobile who has a strong time trial line up.
T-Mobile’s Judith Arndt will certainly be aiming to take some point back from Cooke. Arndt is coming back to racing after a few weeks off due to illness, missing both the National Championships and Thüringen, held in her own backyard.
Oenone Wood and her Nürnberger team will also be hoping to move up the ladder a bit and you can look for results from riders such as former World Champion Susanne Ljungskog and her Buitenpoort Flexpoint teammate Linda Villumsen, who have had some excellent results of late and will be looking to impress whilst at home in Sweden and Denmark respectively.